50 Shades of White
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As real estate agents, Trisha Bowman and Tim Perry had bought and sold plenty of houses. When it came time to build their dream home, they had more than enough ideas and experience on which to draw for inspiration.
“We had lived in a lot of different style [houses],” said Perry, who also owns Perry Custom Homes and did much of the actual work himself. “We had a lot of constraints since we knew what we wanted but also what we didn't want.”
Bowman grew up in Barrie and Perry in Thunder Bay so a sense of space and privacy was paramount to them both. Wilkinson Street, a winding, tree-lined road off Big Bay Point Road near the 20th Sideroad, provided the perfect combination of mature forest and widely spaced lots that made their 1.3 acres feel as if it was in the middle of nowhere rather than minutes away from bustling Barrie. Maintaining that sense of space and the integration with the outdoors became a central theme in the design and construction of their home.
Having seen, sold, toured and owned so many different styles of houses, the final design became a combination of different elements they had seen and enjoyed throughout their careers. What was ultimately the starting point for the design, however, was the 2010 Princess Margaret Lottery home in Oakville that the couple toured. Both of them fell in love with the large gable with cedar shakes at the front of the house; that feature provided the anchor around which the rest of their dream home was designed.
“The final layout ended up being significantly different than the Oakville [lottery] home but we started with the huge gable,” said Perry.
The gable set the tone for the exterior design that Bowman describes as more craftsmen but once inside she wanted the feeling to be very different.
“We wanted it to be cozy but also impressive at the same time,” she said. To create this cozy environment, more traditional fixtures such as old-style knobs and handles were used throughout the house. Ten-foot ceilings on the main floor added an airier, grander feel. “We tried to integrate some of the character from older farmhouses but also used a more plantation style to achieve a beachy feel.”
Visitors get their first taste of the traditional elements on the cobblestone patio by GP Masonry that leads to the solid Madawaska douglas fir front door. Old-fashioned lanterns from Restoration Hardware are installed on either side of the door to enhance the traditional charm.
Opening the door leads into the main floor where open space is the first impression. High ceilings and the wall of windows at the back of the home make it feel as if the kitchen and great room extend over the outside patio and into the hardwood forest behind the house.
“This house should have had a walkout [on the bottom floor] but we didn't like the idea,” Perry explained. “We wanted [the house] to flow right outside. We're still using part of the outside.”
That flow is enhanced through the white oak floors that extend throughout the house. Bowman worked with Majestic Floors of Barrie to get the exact grey wash she was looking for before going ahead with the run.
Immediate access to the porch and the large windows from Strassburger expand the main living space and are also ideal for entertaining as the kitchen, the porch, and the pool are all within the same area. “With walkouts, you often end up with two different spaces [when entertaining] and we didn't want that.”
What they also didn't want was a traditional dining room. Instead they created an open-concept kitchen with a large enough space next to it to accommodate a 14-foot harvest table from Restoration Hardware. Extra leaves create enough room to comfortably accommodate 16 guests. Adjacent to the dining space, Diane Smith of Kitchen Art North facilitated the creation of a majestic kitchen with plenty of storage in ceiling-high cabinets and a special section reserved for presenting unique China pieces since they no longer have the usual cabinet within the dining area. The dark grey paint on the inside of the display cabinets gives them an extra punch to catch the eye.
One of the requirements was for the refrigerator and dishwasher to look like cabinetry so as not to draw any attention to them. There is a wet island with the counter top crema delicato marble supplied by Artistic Stone Design in Barrie. The remaining counters as well as the backsplash are also done in crema delicato. Belgian linen stools provide seating, with LED valance lighting used above the gas stove for efficient and effective task lighting.
The living room, next to the dining and kitchen area, includes a stone-veneer gas fireplace as the focal point of the room. Part of the continuity from indoor to outdoor living is created by a single pillar between the kitchen and living room that mimics the style of outside pillars underneath the plantation-style porch. The outside pillars are made with a PVC product for durability and longevity, and the floor a patterned concrete. Two circulation fans are installed on the underside of the porch roof to maintain airflow during hot summer days.
“Eventually we'd like to have a similar [harvest] table on the patio so we can entertain outside during the summer,” said Perry. The patio includes a built-in Napoleon barbecue and a hot tub.
Two steps down from the porch is the pool deck made of silver travertine natural stone from Cast ‘n Stone in Barrie. The 18 by 34-foot pool and property landscaping were provided by Majestic Pools in Barrie. Plants were supplied by Bradford Greenhouse.
To achieve the simple, powerful lines of the interior design, Bowman and Perry opted to keep the crown moulding and baseboards simple, and to rely on Perry's mastery of built-ins and trim to provide that extra flair throughout the house.
“I spent probably two months doing the built-ins and trim,” said Perry. That includes the ceiling in the office area that is directly accessible from the front door. Since it also features the 10-foot ceilings of the main floor, the challenge was to fit the panel moulding design with the six existing pot lights. “I couldn't figure out how to make the panelling work and then one morning I woke up and had the answer.”
The answer included a diagonal moulding pattern across the ceiling, the perfect topper for the oversized cabinets required for their office storage. Perry also designed the waffle ceiling in the living area and extended it to the space above one of the staircases. Eight-foot doors were installed throughout the main floor.
Having dual staircases was one of the requirements to manage the flow of traffic throughout the house. And while they reduced the ceiling heights to a more traditional eight feet on the second floor, the upper level is larger than the main floor with almost 2,300 square feet of space that includes a loft above the double garage.
“We'd lived in a lot of large bungalows and one of our musts was that we wanted the bedrooms all together,” said Bowman.
The master bedroom has a walkout onto the balcony above the pool and backyard, and also has a walk-in closet designed by Closet Interiors. The ensuite features a Victoria Albert soaker tub with old-style fixtures and a glass shower with Carrara marble throughout. The window looks out onto the balcony and a touch of whimsy is added with a chandelier above the tub.
Two bedrooms – one for their five-year-old daughter Mackenzie – are located on either side of a Jack and Jill bathroom that includes a marble tub surround with travertine stone on the floor and the countertop for the double sinks. The relaxed style of the main floor is continued upstairs through the use of louvred plantation style doors for Mackenzie's closet with old-style knobs and fixtures throughout.
Beside the bedrooms, an upper level laundry area makes doing laundry easy and is next to the loft play area located above the double car garage.
The three large dormers create three unique spaces within the room, one for Mackenzie's play area with a play structure built by Bowman's grandfather, a second for treadmills, and the third area for getting comfortable or watching television.
Back on the main floor via the second staircase, the extended mudroom includes multiple amenities to make it a practical space. One is the dog shower beneath the stairs and next to the door to outside. It was an expensive perk and one they weren't sure if they should include but one they use all the time for the muddy dog or anything that needs a quick wash.
“I'm so thankful that we put this in,” said Perry, who crafted multiple built-ins to provide plenty of winter and summer storage, and easy access to outdoor wear.
The basement provides further luxuries including an additional entertainment space with a wet bar and a shouldice shale stone wall.
A dedicated movie theatre features a 3D projector, 7.1 surround sound, and an old-fashioned popcorn machine for the full theatre experience. The adjacent mirrored weight room includes workout matting to cushion the impact.
It is hard to think of anything that has been overlooked or is missing in this carefully planned and created dream home.

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